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The ball is in GoI’s court, says NSCN (I-M) on sixth anniversary of Framework Agreement

Photo: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NSCN (I-M) general secretary The Muivah during the signing of Framework Agreement on August 3, 2015

The NSCN (I-M) also warned that misinterpretation of the FA to suit the convenience of the Government of India would simply rip apart the Indians and Nagas with no meeting point.

TFM Desk

On the sixth anniversary of the signing of the Framework Agreement, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isaak-Muivah) asserted that the ball is in the court of the Government of India (GoI), and not with the Naga outfit. The outfit also maintained that the Framework Agreement is the best formula to establish a new relationship for ‘peaceful coexistence of the two entities (India and Nagalim)’ on the basis of ‘shared sovereignty’ which signifies that the Nagas are sovereign people.

The much-hyped Framework Agreement (FA) enters the 6th year without getting any positive response from the GoI for the necessary follow up action to concretize into a solid official document as transitional arrangement for the final settlement of Naga political issue. Six years waiting is a long period in any sense of the term. Given the complexity of the issue, Naga people are, however, patient enough waiting for GoI to act upon its own commitment, stated a release by the Ministry of Information and Publicity of the outfit.

“It is on record that all the past agreements on Naga political issue ended up in failure. The 9 Points Agreement of 1947, the 16 Points Agreement of 1960 and the Shillong Accord of 1975 failed to get the support of the Naga people as these agreements came short of Naga people’s historical and political rights”.

The Framework Agreement, the outfit said, was a fresh attempt after more than two decades of the Indo-Naga political negotiations and the most ‘credible agreement’ that matched the political rights of the Naga people across Nagalim. This is the reason why NSCN (I-M) is determined to stick to the Framework Agreement without any dilution to usher in permanent peace and development not only in Nagalim but in the whole Northeast region.

Given the critical importance of the Framework Agreement that defines Naga people’s political identity, the Nagas will stand guard to protect the sanctity of the FA and will abide by its principles of the Framework Agreement — nothing above and nothing below the Framework Agreement.

‘Question of having accepted Indian Constitution does not arise’

Significantly, the FA was the fruition of the grueling rounds of discussions to set the IndoNaga political talks on firm footing in order to take the Naga issue for an honorable and acceptable solution to both the parties. Now the time has come again calling upon the Government of India to open the door for executing the FA with all honesty and not resort to misinterpretation to suit its own convenience, it added.

“It is our conviction that only the principle of the FA is the key to an honourable and acceptable solution for durable peace. Neither economic packages nor imposed political packages will bring about a lasting solution. There are no other tangible options we can conceive”.

The Naga outfit insisted that the Government of India should, therefore, think beyond its shoulder if they are serious to go for a long term Indo-Naga political solution. For the Naga people the question of being too rigid and not flexible enough does not arise as the issue circles around the Naga people’s determined stands of protecting the political identity of the Naga nationhood represented by the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution).

“The very fact that the Nagas are not rigid had taken the Indo-Naga political talk this far. The pressing irony is that without the Naga national flag and Yehzabo, everything discussed and agreed upon shall be nullified. More than that, the Framework Agreement should not be twisted to project that it is under the purview of Indian Constitution”. 

The Naga outfit argued that the Nagas had not surrendered their sovereignty nor decided to join the Indian Union. So, the question of having accepted Indian Constitution also does not arise.

Stating that it was India who sent thousands of Indian Army personnel to force the Nagas to join the Indian Union, the outfit maintained that this factual state of history is being accepted and settled by signing the indelible Framework Agreement to set the ground for the meeting point to enter into the Government of India official record (gazette).

Indo-Naga political talk was taken up in a serious business-like manner

The NSCN (I-M) recalled that a historic breakthrough was made on the July 11, 2002 at Amsterdam (Netherlands) talks by the Government of India and the outfit. The Government of India represented by K Padmanabhaiah formally recognized the unique history and situation of the Naga people.

“Significantly, this official recognition became a matter of political exigency as demanded by the situation. The growing temperament of the Indo-Naga political talks brought both the parties to realize that the guts to face the realities are extremely essential to solve the problem of the magnitude of Indo-Naga political issue”.

For the NSCN (I-M), the recognition of the unique history and situation of the Naga people means it recognizes the very principle that is indispensable to the real start of the political negotiation. More importantly, any agreement that ignores the unique history of the Nagas will not lead to any constructive resolution. Henceforth, the Indo-Naga political talk was taken up in a serious business-like manner, the release added.

It was after more than ten years of negotiation following the official recognition of the unique history and situation of the Nagas when the talks reached a deadlock-like situation with no side willing to compromise as both the Indian and Naga leaders took their respective parallel stands never to meet whatsoever.

The stand of the GoI was — ‘solution within the parameters of the Indian Constitution and Union of India’, whereas the stand of the Nagas was — ‘nothing to do with India, nothing short of total independence and total sovereignty’.

Finally, after a long series of talks, the Government of India proposed the Framework Agreement as a formula of win-win solution. All the successive Prime Ministers of India understand that Nagas will not merge with the Union of India, but they are willing to coexist with the Union of India.

More than that, they are also well informed that the Nagas will not accept the Indian Constitution, though they are not opposed to sharing sovereign power with India.

Ultimately, when the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 there was much jubilation among the RSS/BJP and other political leaders. Equally excited are the Naga people, the Nagas across Nagalim.

“Significantly, the Framework Agreement is the meeting point of the two sovereign peoples. Sensible Nagas understand that this is one of the options where the Indians and Nagas can come closer to each other because it serves the purposes of both the parties”.

The NSCN (I-M) also contended that it would be a great loss for them if they betray the Framework Agreement and prioritize the modified 16-Points Agreement. And they will miss the golden chance of a Naga solution that is honorable and acceptable to both India and Naga people. But for the Nagas we have taken the stand to keep the pot boiling till the Framework Agreement is pushed ahead in a meaningful manner, it added

“The irony of the situation was apparent to everyone as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is now being carefully watched if he will live up to his high profile Framework Agreement speech”.

Misinterpretation of the FA would rip apart the Indians and Nagas with no meeting point

In his speech, Prime Minister Modi said, “We have continued to look at each other through the prism of false perception and old prejudices. The result was that connectivity between Nagaland and the rest of India remained weak across this divide”.

“For all practical purposes, PM Modi, in order to find a lasting Naga solution will have to look through the prism of the Framework Agreement and no other way. He must come up boldly to face the situation created by his own zeal to solve the Indo-Naga problem”. 

Modi also said, “Today’s agreement is a shining example of what we can achieve when we deal with each other in a spirit of equality and respect, trust and confidence; when we seek to understand concerns and try to address aspirations; when we leave the path of dispute and take the high road of dialogue. It is a lesson and an inspiration in our troubled world”.

Asserting that having reached six years after he made this bold statement it is time that action should speak louder than words, the Naga outfit warned that misinterpretation of the FA to suit the convenience of the Government of India would simply rip apart the Indians and Nagas with no meeting point. 

Six years down the line NSCN have stood the ground to defend the FA against any manipulation or misinterpretation. Prime Minister Modi had shown his confidence and pride in signing the FA that he made sure that the signing ceremony is live-telecast to make the whole world witness the historic agreement. He even generated much amusement among the opposition parties when he informed them that he had solved the longest running insurgency movement in Southeast Asia by the stroke of pen signing the Framework Agreement, the release added. 

No point talking with the Ministry of Home Affairs

The release further stated that during the meeting of NSCN (I-M) and the Core Committee set up by the Nagaland state Legislative Assembly it was reiterated by NSCN (I-M) team led by the general secretary, Th Muivah that the Framework Agreement would be the basis of the final solution with the Government of India because the FA is inclusive of everything to make the Naga solution that is honourable and acceptable to both the parties.

It was for this reason that NSCN (I-M) has steadfastly guarded FA not to allow the Government of India to make any strategic diversion under any pretext. Unity of the Naga people should also be based on the Framework Agreement to safeguard the sanctity of the Naga political history that was built through blood, sweat and tears, it added.

“Significantly, the FA was signed under the direct supervision of Prime Minister Modi at his official residence, New Delhi. It is high time that the FA is again brought to the courtyard of Modi for his final perusal and follow up action to take the Indo-Naga Political talks under his direct command”.

The NSCN (I-M) also asserted that there is no point talking with the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), GoI as the informal talk is leading to nowhere other than beating around the bush. The political exigency is for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appoint his representative(s) to pick up the political talk with the NSCN (I-M) talk team and take the Framework Agreement to a logical conclusion.

The Framework Agreement is the culmination of the history of the Naga political struggle when the Nagas declared the Naga Independence Day on August 14, 1947 and telegraphic message sent to the UNO (United Nations Organizations) and the Government of India and all the foreign embassies based in Delhi, followed by the Naga Plebiscite on May 16, 1951 with 99.9% votes that favoured sovereign independence and finally Nagalim headed by NSCN (I-M) becoming a bona fide member of the UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) on January 23, 1993 on the strength of historical and political legitimacy. All these historical records testify that the Nagas were never a part of India, the Naga outfit argued.  

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